Indiana Wills – What You Need to Know
A will (sometimes referred to as a Last Will and Testament) is a legal document that provides instruction for asset distribution upon death. All property owned by a person at death is distributed either in accordance with a will or, if a will does not exist, by intestate law. The only exceptions for such distribution are assets that transfer by contract (such as “pay-on-death” bank accounts and property held in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship). Assets held in a trust are not considered to be separately owned by a person; as a result, trust assets are governed by the terms of the trust.
Often, a personal representative is designated in the will to administer the estate.
Protecting Your Distribution Desires
- If you die without a will in Indiana, Indiana intestate law determines who will inherit your assets based upon their relationship to you. Those who have the same relationship will inherit the same value of assets. As a result, if a parent dies without a spouse or will, all children are entitled to exactly the value in assets.
- If you die without a will, it does not matter how clearly you may have expressed your wishes concerning asset distribution, even if you explicitly promised loved ones that they would inherit specific assets. While an estate administrator may try to distribute assets to specific loved ones as you may have intended, they must still make sure that asset distribution is done in accordance with intestate law. Problems, however, can arise, such as asset valuation, asset division, and assets that may have nominal market value but significant sentimental value.
- If you are in a committed relationship but are not married, your partner will not inherit any assets under Indiana intestate law.
Helping Clients Protect Loved Ones and Minimize Estate Disputes
We help clients protect loved ones and minimize possible estate disputes through well-crafted estate plans. We look forward to having the opportunity to learn about how circumstances and estate distribution wishes, and to helping you develop a solid estate plan.